East India Youth – “Total Strife Forever”

Standard

“No, no, NOT the Foals album…”

William Doyle can sing, and this sets the English producer apart from many of his contemporaries and idols. The parts of Total Strife Forever where he opens his mouth are the most sublime moments on the album, and at the end of the album I’m left wanting more of those moments, especially when they’re considered against the total. The actual production on the album seems lacking at the best of times and godawfully boring at the worst. I know that it’s okay to use canned sounds in new ways now (thanks Oneohtrix Point Never) but the point is to use them in new ways. The album opens with a long, synth-driven drone; normally this is something I would be okay with, but I want drones to sound textured. The first 10-15 minutes of the album sounds like Doyle pressed a preset, held a key down, and built some other half-baked ideas around it. Regardless of how he actually arrived at it, this is how it comes off, and the album only gets marginally better from there. Scattered moments of decent Detroit techno play around the interminable preset-drone-wash; here and there, Doyle’s voice pops up and we’re treated to some pretty good electro-pop stylings.

I don’t know, maybe I’m spoiled by having come into electronic music all these years ago through Aphex Twin, Prefuse 73, and the rest of the Warp catalogue, but nothing here seems all that particularly special. It’s inoffensive, and uninteresting; Doyle should open up his lips more, because 11 tracks of his rather beautiful voice over this production would be far more palatable.

Grade:  C+

Standouts:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wL_JE_ksh8] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeMmpfZhNoc]

 

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